… as COVID hospitalisations, deaths increase
AMID a noticeable increase in COVID-19 deaths and the number of persons who have been hospitalised with the more severe symptoms of the disease, COVID-19, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has called on all eligible Guyanese to take the vaccine. On Tuesday morning, Dr. Anthony took the first dose of the recently procured Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, alongside his wife, Dr. Shanti Singh; Adviser to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Malcolm Watkins.
“People feel that I am hesitant to take the vaccine so I want to dispel that myth and ensure that people can see that I have taken the vaccine and now if that was preventing them from getting theirs, that they can come on board and get theirs,” Dr. Anthony told reporters, after he took the vaccine.
He also related that he wanted to ensure that many of Guyana’s frontline healthcare workers received their vaccines before he took his, adding that Guyana has been able to secure many doses of vaccine and is expecting many more. Clinical trials have shown that this Sputnik V vaccine has an efficacy of about 92 per cent. Guyana is also rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India and the Sinopharm vaccine from China. Meanwhile, during his daily COVID-19 update, he reminded the public that the Ministry of Health has issued several warnings over the increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths and the amount of people hospitalised with the severe symptoms of the novel coronavirus, recently.
He, however, emphasised that these stark occurrences can be prevented with the vaccine.
“We can reduce deaths, we can reduce hospitalisations if a lot of people take their vaccine,” the health minister advised, adding: “That has been shown around the world because we see in countries where there are high rates of immunisation that cases have dropped and hospitalisations have dropped.”
He said that the vaccines went through the necessary stages of trials and review before they were approved and they have been used by millions of people, without a great number of adverse effects. As such, he called upon all Guyanese, who are eligible to receive the vaccines [those persons 40 years and older and all health care workers], to visit their nearest vaccination site to get inoculated. The Ministry of Health currently has vaccination sites in every region, coupled with mobile teams that move from community to community in a bid to increase vaccination. In fact, it is expected that there will be 100 vaccination sites across Guyana, as the ministry aims to vaccinate 40,000 persons this week.
Dr. Anthony noted that partnerships with community and religious organisations have been instrumental in ensuring that more persons take their vaccines. He encouraged more of these organisations to partner with the ministry to bolster the countrywide vaccination campaign.